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Obsessive Scottish Muslim? July 12, 2009

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Media, Proggies, Responses, Shari'ah.
11 comments
A brave face
A brave face?
“Usually the voices of reason are the quietest.”

Agree with this statement or disagree, it is the opinion of a recent PhD graduate at Glasgow University who desperately wishes he could be as celebrated a Muslim progressive as his idols like Reza Aslan. Trouble is, he’s just not as talented.

Amanullah De Sondy certainly hasn’t remained quiet about issues that make him itch, yet his views on homosexuality have been strangely muted. This despite the fact that people who have known him for years say that they expected him to come out with something eventually. Well here it is (or almost).

1. Why can’t Muslims be gay and proud?

2. Academic challenges ‘homophobic’ Muslims

It is very important to him to insist he’s an “academic“, because that apparently gives him the right to say whatever he wants about Islam and we Westerners are supposed to take it at face value, despite the fact that academia itself is a system of presenting and challenging views based on research. But that doesn’t make everything novel or controversial worthwhile in itself. Some academics are still trotting out the discredited theories of yesteryear, and Islamic Studies is one of the most affected by this problem due to the persistence of classical Orientalist agendas linked to colonialism and modern-day warmongering.

And without meaning offence to everyone at the University of Glasgow, I wouldn’t study Islam there any more than I would boast about a degree in English Literature from Kabul University.

De Sondy seems to fantasise about cloning himself and taking over Scotland, judging by one rather huffy letter penned last year:

I smell worry in the words and actions of the political Islamists, Mosques and our so-called Islamic leaders who want to cage and control the sentiments of the true progressive Scottish Muslims, but this new wave will emerge in full force, and time will then be the judge of who are the best partners in creating a flourishing Scotland.

However, much like his blog which he optimistically titled “Progressive Scottish Muslims”, adding an ‘s’ on the end doesn’t mean that you’re more than one person.

So on to the articles…

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Female translation…so what? April 4, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Proggies, Responses.
6 comments

I can’t remember now where I heard the rumours of a new Qur’an translation by a progressive Muslim woman… but this must be it, as announced by Faisal Alam of Al-Fatiha. If it serves their desires, it gets forwarded!

The first translation of the Qur’an by an American woman. What an event! The fawning article in the New York Times [reproduced below] includes a priceless insight into her lack of qualification:

“[Laleh] Bakhtiar, who is 68 and has a doctorate in educational psychology…does not speak Arabic, but she learned to read the holy texts in Arabic while studying and working as a translator in Iran in the 1970s and ’80s.

Her eureka moment came on roughly her 10th reading of the Arabic-English Lexicon by Edward William Lane, a 3,064-page volume from the 19th century, she said. Among the six pages of definitions for “daraba” was “to go away.” [Bakhtiar says:] “I said to myself, ‘Oh, God, that is what the prophet meant…”

Update: A proper slap-down here from the erudite Umm Zaid.

Since I just gave you a link to notes for a lecture by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, let me inform you that he has discussed the issue of Qur’an translation throughly in one of his books, which I recommend. And here’s a video lecture on a somewhat relevant theme: Debunking the Male Bias Myth.

This ‘revolutionary translation’ reminds me of what I said about Scott “Siraj al-Haqq” Kugle’s contribution to a UK Channel 4 documentary aired last January:

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Yasir Qadhi lecture February 24, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Proggies.
25 comments

Progress with the Progressives – notes/transcript @ Lota Enterprises

Hirsi Ali: The Arrogant Ignoramus February 3, 2007

Posted by Taleb Haqq in Islam, Media, Proggies.
41 comments

ayan-ali-voa Look who’s back in the news again. In an “exclusive” (because nobody else wants to) two part interview with Voice of America [1,2], Ayaan tries to gain back some spotlight after being exposed as a liar and being hired by none other than the notorious right wing “think ” tank the American Enterprise Institue. We will let readers for themselves question Hirsi’s intentions in attacking Islam when she describes herself as an atheist. Let us, however, examine some of her [term used loosely] quotes.

I decided — and it’s a private decision, I am not propagating atheism – but I decided that I do not believe in the existence of a hell and a heaven and a hereafter.

[…]

I’ve spoken to thousands of Muslims who are compassionate people who do not want to kill. They do not want to become the enemies of unbelievers, or see unbelievers as enemies, non-Muslims as enemies. But there is always the barrier, the threat of hell. If you disobey God, then you go to Hell.

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“Inner knowing”, “fullest potential” February 1, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Proggies, Responses.
16 comments

Ghazala Anwar

Ghazala Anwar, one of the Al-Fatiha “scholars” has been appointed as associate professor in the faculty of Usul al-Deen at Islamabad’s International Islamic University, sparking protests:

Dr Ghazala said in her email reply: “As an imperative of my faith in a Compassionate and Merciful Creator, I extend my support to the right of all creatures human and non-human to live their lives in the light of their inner knowing, according to how they were created by the Creator and to their fullest potential. This is what Islam teaches.”

Meaningless rhetoric. Points of note: 

  1. Allah is indeed Merciful and Compassionate. But these attributes of His are not brushes by which you can whitewash the religion which He perfected by His Messenger (peace be on him).
  2. “Inner knowing” is defined and regulated how? Ever heard of Qur’an and Sunnah?
  3. How were they created, and how will they know? Allah said: “I did not make them witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor even their own creation…” [18:51]
  4. Ah, so that’s why you must declare they were ‘created that way’. Now you can go on to say that by following in the evil footsteps of the Sodomites, they are only ‘fulfilling their potential’. And that’s got to be beautiful, right? Any other option would be plain sacreligious. After all, as Ghazala claims: “The larger Muslim community has to come to the recognition that homophobia and not homosexuality is the sin.” Presumably denying yourself anal sex is a form of self-inflicted homophobia.
  5. Islam teaches this? The Qur’an places value on diversity of gender, colour, language, and nationalities. Not of “orientations”, a dubious concept.

Debate: “Islamic gay marriage” December 10, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Proggies, Responses, Shari'ah.
32 comments

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how focusing the scriptural debate over homosexuality according to Islam on just the passages about the people of Lut (peace be on him) falls short of understanding the whole picture of opposition from the entire legal system of Islam, based faithfully upon the Qur’an and Sunnah.

I want to write something in-depth about this, but in the meantime here are snippets from an ongoing debate over at ProgressiveIslam.org, a haven for bizarre opinions, but not entirely unchallenged. I have posted a couple of comments, which I reproduce here alongside others relevant to the thread:

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Muslim Canadian Congress – UnVEILED November 14, 2006

Posted by Taleb Haqq in Proggies, Religion.
3 comments

A few days ago, the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) – [See here and here], decided that it needed some sort of media attention. In the face of growing attacks against the Muslim community and the way that some of us dress – especially our women – these people decided to defend against these criticisms by, you guessed it, Rejecting the Niqab! These people need to understand that the Niqab is a choice that anyone should have. Anyways, they are entitled to their opinions I suppose. There is one disturbing fact that I did notice in their statement, however. See the following quote:

The Muslim Canadian Congress acknowledges that women have the right to dress as they please—but the rights of the individual have to be balanced with the rights of society. We must keep in mind the impact we have on Canadian society when we exercise our rights. Wearing veils—whether as an expression of religious identity, or as a means of political defiance, is not in the best interest of Canada’s Muslim communities. Nor is it a requirement of our Islamic faith.

Notice how they use the words “niqab” and “veil” interchangeably. Which one is it MCC? Are you rejecting the niqab? Or any sort of veil?

Salutes to Dr. M for pointing out this story.

In the name of Satan October 9, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Proggies.
37 comments

Still on their quest for a Queer Muslim Reformation, the makers of In the Name of Allah are inviting you to a club in San Francisco for “Cocktails, Hors d’oeuvres, 12-minute preview of the film, and Q&A with director Parvez Sharma and producer Sandi DuBowski (director of Trembling Before G-D) .”

In the name of Satan

Afdhere Jama urges Muslims to go along between 6-8pm: “I’m a personal friend of the director, and would really appreciate your support on this. And I thank you in advance for whatever you can do to support this good cause.”

Above is a screenshot from the venue’s website – there’s a wide variety of drinks to break your fast with. Maghrib that day in San Fran is 6.31pm, boys. I wonder if they have a prayer room at Supperclub..?

Gay Pride “Honours” for Manji & Khaki September 10, 2006

Posted by Taleb Haqq in Homosexualists, Proggies, Queer Muslims.
3 comments

If you haven’t been following this year’s Toronto Gay Pride coverage, here’s what you missed: Award Honourees Announced.

El-Farouk Khaki was honoured for

Spirituality: El-Farouk Khaki, lawyer and human rights activist, El-Farouk is the founder of Salaam Canada and the local Salaam Toronto chapter. Salaam is a Muslim Identified Queer Advocacy and Support Organization, providing support, resources and lobbying on behalf of their membership for greater tolerance and inclusiveness in the Islamic community.”

So now Salaam is for “inclusiveness in the Islamic community…” but they won’t do this by debating the mainstream Muslims (see my previous post on Salaam Canada and the El-Farouk Effect).

Anyway, the real treat is what Irshad Manji got honoured for:

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Whitaker on “native misinformants” September 10, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Proggies.
15 comments

Quite some time ago, I promised a response to Brian Whitaker’s article asking: What’s wrong with being gay and Muslim? Well, I’ve shelved the idea of responding to that, as it would be better to respond to what he’s written in his book, once I get round to it! See here and here for relevant previous posts.

The article gives a taster of the arguments found in the book – arguments that are apparently based upon the work of Scott Kugle (which I’ll have to refute before Whitaker’s, therefore). In fact, Whitaker doesn’t so much indulge in the scriptural reinterpretation in the article, but just gives the case for doing this, and moving with the times.

Note the way in which he frames the question in terms of identities (“being Muslim and gay”), making it difficult to provide an answer based on juristic principles. There is nothing wrong with being anything, simply, as Islam describes sin as an act of doing, not a state of being. Whitaker realises this, but I feel his use of the concept is highly misleading. His subtitle says: “The Qur’anic verses usually cited as condemning homosexuality are by no means as clear or unequivocal as people imagine.”

Kugle-Manji-Hirsi-Aslan-Alam

My attention was caught by a later article by Brian, a cutting overview of the “native misinformants”, chiefly represented by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji. I’m left a little confused, in that Brian is going on about reform of Islam’s attitude to homosexuality, without noticing the overlap between all these figures, and the implications of the Queer Muslim Reformation.

It so happens that both the women he castigates have taken homosexuality as important planks in their anti-Islam campaigns (though Manji’s is supposedly from “within”). I posted here before about the endorsement given by Al-Fatiha founder Faisal Alam to Ayaan’s Submission movie – and that was the first one, not the forthcoming one about gays. Meanwhile, Brian Whitaker links to Al-Fatiha, and I wonder if he has any criticisms of their role as “reformers”.

Another chap going on a lot about the “civil war” in Islam and how reformation is going on right now, is Reza Aslan, author of No god but God. In an article on the proggies’ central site, a young lady tells of how her interest in Islam was piqued by how “very very good-looking” Aslan is. He later tells her:

[Y]ou must be careful, because there are lots of crazies out there and they all have their ‘authoritative’ views on what Islam is and what it is not; what it allows and what it doesn’t. Don’t listen to any of it… Islam is what you consider it to be… I have countless gay Muslim friends and encourage you to contact my very good friend Faisal who is the head of al-Fatiha organization…

Whether “scholars” like Kugle and Aslan, or “activists” like Manji and Ayaan, these are players in the same insidious game.